Quest for Kudos: Korn Ferry Survey Finds Highly Skilled Professionals Are Motivated More by Recognition and Meaningful Work than by Pay
Editor’s Note: Survey Responses at End of News Release
“Highly skilled professionals are the backbone of organizations, the
star performers, the ‘Steady Freddys’ who keep companies running day in
and day out,” said
When asked why highly skilled professionals would leave an organization, the majority (53 percent) said the top reason would be a lack of their organization’s willingness to recognize the value of their expertise.
“All too often, employers don’t see the true value of these highly skilled employees until they leave, at times taking with them the knowledge and intellectual property that makes the organization successful,” said Hill. “To retain members of this group, employers should offer them opportunities to continue to learn, to gain recognition by sharing their expertise across the organization and resist micromanaging their day-to-day efforts.”
When asked what matters most to members of this group, respondents were split between their ability to grow their professional skills (42 percent) and being recognized as subject matter experts (49 percent). Trailing dramatically as to what matters most to highly skilled professionals was a promotion at 7 percent and a raise at 2 percent.
“It’s important to understand that highly skilled professionals still want to be compensated fairly, but they see pay as table stakes,” said Hill. “They are more connected to the work than the paycheck, and focus on the outcomes of their efforts.”
The survey found that the vast majority of respondents (77 percent) say there is not a clear path for advancement for highly skilled professionals, and 78 percent say their organization does not have a way to reward them other than a raise or promotion.
“Professional development and opportunities to hone their skills are real drivers for highly skilled employees,” said Hill. “One idea organizations could implement is to form a focus group of these professionals to formulate development paths that would provide true impact.”
About the survey
There were 992 responses to the
|What’s the top reason a professional individual contributor would choose to work at one organization over another?|
|Better reputation of chosen company||6 percent|
|Promise of meaningful work||68 percent|
|Belief they will receive greater recognition for their work||13 percent|
|Better team with whom to work||9 percent|
|Better compensation package||4 percent|
What’s the top reason a professional individual contributor, such as a scientist, researcher or software developer, would stay at an organization?
|Meaningful and challenging work||72 percent|
|Ability to advance in an organization||6 percent|
|Being recognized for their accomplishments||17 percent|
|Reputation of their organization as being an industry leader||4 percent|
|Attractive compensation package||1 percent|
What’s the top reason a professional individual contributor, such as a scientist, researcher or software developer, would leave an organization?
|Lack of advancement opportunities within their own functional area||16 percent|
|Required to take on additional responsibilities such as managing people||19 percent|
|Lack of their organization’s willingness to recognize the value of their expertise||
|Lack of opportunity to work with a community of colleagues within their function||10 percent|
|Insufficient compensation||2 percent|
|What matters most to professional individual contributors in your organization, such as scientists, researchers or software developers?|
|Ability to grow their professional skills||42 percent|
|Being recognized as a subject matter expert||49 percent|
|Does your organization have professional development programs to help professional individual contributors in your organization advance in their own function (as opposed to including them in broader high-potential programs)?|
|Is there a clear path for advancement for professional individual contributors in your organization, such as scientists, researchers or software developers?|
|Does your organization have a way to reward professional individual contributors in your organization, such as scientists, researchers or software developers, other than a raise or promotion?|